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Cook the value in first Test betting

Cricket RSS / Ed Hawkins / 26 May 2010 / Leave a comment Bet Now View Market

Alastair Cook is a nice price for top bat

England, unlike some in the international cricketing playground, have a history of treating Bangladesh with disdain when they have been naval to eye with the pipsqueaks.

It may not be the hottest outright betting heats, but there are plenty of other wagers to raise the temperature. Ed Hawkins has the best bets ahead of Thursday's first Test at Lord's.

England, unlike some in the international cricketing playground, have a history of treating Bangladesh with disdain when they have been naval to eye with the pipsqueaks. Andrew Strauss didn't even bother touring in March and now they have rested more players.

Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad have been told to pout their feet up. Conspiracy theorists will be salivating at Colly's absence. Convenient that the man who lead England to their first global glory sits this one out to allow the top man to get a grip of his troops again?

Eoin Morgan, the Irishman, and Steven Finn, his Middlesex fast-bowling team-mate, will play instead of Collingwood and Broad. This will be Morgan's Test debut.

Bangaldesh, as if they needed any more disadvantages, have their preparations affected by Shakib al Hasan, their skipper, coming down with chicken pox. He is fit, however. Tamim Iqbal, the highly-regarded opener, will play through the pain of a wrist injury. There is no Mashrafe Mortaza.

Venue and conditions
There is a myth that, thankfully, is dying a death: England struggle at Lord's. It is quite the opposite. Their average first-innings score when batting first in their last five Tests is a whopping 449. England are as short as [1.8] for 500 runs or more.

They are dangerous with the ball, too. They haven't conceded more than 300 on the last three occasions they have had to bowl first. One of those sides who struggled was Bangladesh. They were blown away for 108 on their last visit in 2005. You can lay them at [1.55] for 110 runs or more. A lay for 200 or more also appeals at [2.3] given that Bangladesh made only 159 in the second innings five years ago.

The Lord's wicket is a good one and holds up - there is only a five-run difference in terms of averages between the first innings and fourth. But with showers forecast, the Bangladesh batsman face a real test of their credentials. These conditions will be alien to them and they are taken to struggle with the ball moving around.

Match odds
This shouldn't take long. England are no better than [1.14] for victory with Bangladesh [42.0] and the draw [9.6]. In case you have forgotten, Bangladesh have avoided defeat in only nine of their 66 Tests.

A more appealing market is Test Match End. England wrapped up proceedings on the morning of day three in 2005. A repeat is [2.8] and it is bundled in with a finish at any time on days one, two and three. Bangladesh were also beaten within seven sessions on their only other appearance in England, in Chester-le-Street, in the same series. The morning of day four is [6.4].

England, who won both Tests played in Bangladesh in March, are a surprisingly generous [1.3] to win the series 2-0. The next game is at Old Trafford next week.

Featured market
Kevin Pietersen, who looks in the form of his life, is [1.86] to beat compatriot Jonathan Trott in a runs match bet. Trott goes into the game as the only England player under pressure. He has one 50 in his last nine innings, and that came against Bangladesh. He managed to fail three times against them, however, in the series earlier this year.

Top batsman
Alastair Cook has had an inauspicious start to the county season with Essex. But he still ranks as the value for top England run-scorer in the first innings at HQ. Cook, with 851 runs, is England's top run-scorer in Tests over the last 12 months and he top scored overall in the series against Bangladesh. Given that he is guaranteed to get crease time he looks overpriced at [5.1].

Ian Bell, who was second to Cook on both lists mentioned, is [7.2] and has a reputation for easy runs. Pietersen is [3.8] jolly with Andrew Strauss [4.6].

Tamim will be Bangladesh's favourite when the market becomes available at around the [4.5] mark. Talented yes, but the HQ surface will not suit him. Tight technique is key and the opener is too much of a dasher. Lay him in-running if you can as his price will shorten dramatically if he manages a few streaky boundaries. Otherwise look out for the doughty Shakib or Mushfiqur Rahim.

Trivia
The Umpire Decision Review System will not be used because the ICC and Sky can't make the other pay for it.


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